You must go deeper . . . and look at the dynamics of the layers that have been created. At the core there is the pain. Then, in order to avoid the pain, you try to stay busy with friends and hide in their acceptance. That is the first layer [of trying protect ourselves from experiencing pain]. Then, in order to assure your acceptance, you try to present yourself a certain way so that you can win friends and influence people. That is another layer. Each layer is attached to the original pain. That is why simple, everyday interactions can affect you so much. If the core pain was not the motivation behind proving yourself each day, what people say would not affect you. But since avoiding the core pain is why you’re trying to prove yourself, you end up bringing the potential for pain into everything that happens. You end up so sensitive that you are unable to live in this world without getting hurt. You cannot even interact with people or do other normal daily activities without events affecting your heart. If you watch carefully, you will see that even simple interactions often cause some degree of pain, insecurity, or general disturbance.
from The Untethered Soul; the journey beyond yourself